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Review: CHRISTMAS WITH QUEEN_ST at Spotlight Theatre, Auckland

It's all Ps and Qs.... by Glenda Pearce

Review: CHRISTMAS WITH QUEEN_ST at Spotlight Theatre, Auckland

It's all Ps and Qs .....

Review: CHRISTMAS WITH QUEEN_ST at Spotlight Theatre, Auckland Passion-filled, positivity, poise, pitch-perfect.... T'was the night to cement the Christmas spirit, a summer night of very special music from the dynamic female quartet of

Queen_St. These talented women are significant soloists in their own right, but combine them into powerful duets, and commanding creative quartet arrangements - and we get harmonies and melodies delivered with effortless conviction, tonal glow and clarity of diction.

Those of us fortunate to be there at the Christmas special were entranced and thoroughly entertained. The frustrations and constraints of 2020 were forgotten as the delighted audience was taken through three sets of familiar (often potential singalong) numbers - beginning with Christmas songs and carols, then well-known musical numbers and finally into contemporary tunes and lyrics.

Review: CHRISTMAS WITH QUEEN_ST at Spotlight Theatre, Auckland These four ladies (Emma Bishop, Sharon Hewlett, Renee Maurice, Chantel Wilson) began the evening with moving renditions of Christmas songs, an opening highlight Renee's solo of The First Noel sung in a gospel style. The vibrant notes, energy and zest continued all evening , with emotionally moving compositions such as Emma's "You are the Reason", beautiful ballads such as Chantel's "We've Only Just Begun", and Sharon's well-articulated and sensitive rendition of "Never Enough."

There were powerful, sensitively handled tracks, sometimes filled with sensual warmth, such as Chantel's "Santa, Baby", "Hot Stuff", and the moving melody, from Renee and Sharon, "A Grown Up Christmas List" inspiring everyone to think of what is great about Christmas - how fortunate they are when they have health, and lives not torn about by conflict. Their hope that "everyone will have a friend" at this time of year resonated with all of us. The upbeat melodies of "Man, I Feel Like a Woman", and "Edge of Glory" were full of vivacity, positivity, joy lit faces and energy pumped.

Two outstanding highlights for this reviewer were the heartfelt harmonies of Sharon and Renee, and then Emma and Chantel with their well-shaped interpretation of "I Know Him So Well" (from CHESS), which built to a powerhouse ending. Secondly, the rock anthem "Purple Rain", with Renee showing her impressive vocal pitch range across three octaves. Many arrangements allowed the four to demonstrate their tonal prowess between octaves and parts.

Taking responsibility of the technical operation was Glen Mortensen, who became very important when Emma Bishop's mic failed, and he was called upon to affect a rapid recovery. What was truly remarkable was Emma's skilled projection, managing to maintain the same volume as her amplified counterparts . The show was produced by Stage Antics. The kaupapa of Queen_St is to give back, so they had a can drive and donations which went to St Andrews Anglican Church Foodbank.

With guests seated at tables, making chatter and socialising easily, this was a Christmas Cabaret that entertained effortlessly as it interwove harmonies on a wide span of popular and contemporary songs. Hopefully we will see the Mothers' Day and ANZAC shows in 2021 that were cancelled due to COVID this year.

Meanwhile, If you have something special to celebrate in 2021, a wedding, a special birthday, a conference, a work event -- book this unique and experienced group quickly because you won't want to miss the joy and fun it brings.


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From This Author - Glenda Pearce